The horrible conclusion which had been gradually intruding itself upon my confused and reluctant mind was now an awful certainty. I was lost, completely, hopelessly lost in the vast and labyrinthine recess of the Mammoth Cave. Turn as I might, in no direction could my straining vision seize on any object capable of serving as a guidepost to set me on the outward path. That nevermore should I behold the blessed light of day, or scan the pleasant bills and dales of the beautiful world outside, my reason could no longer entertain the slightest unbelief. Hope had departed. Yet, indoctrinated as I was by a life of philosophical study, I derived no small measure of satisfaction from my unimpassioned demeanour; for although I had frequently read of the wild frenzies into which were thrown the victims of similar situations, I experienced none of these, but stood quiet as soon as I clearly realised the loss of my bearings. —H.P. Lovecraft —The Beast in the Cave (The Works of H.P. Lovecraft)
I had been searching for a quotation from Thoreau, “unfathomed mammoth cave.”
This story features getting lost in “the vast and labyrinthine recess of the Mammoth Cave,” “wandering for over an hour in forbidden avenues,” a light source that goes out, and the lobbing of missiles at an unseen foe. Reminds me more of Hunt the Wumpus than Colossal Cave Adventure.
The story also refers to the practice of using caves as a sort of hospital for patients with consumption.
No, the beast isn’t a grue, but the story — while far from Lovecraft’s best — was a pleasant find. Still, ending with a final capitalized word, with three exclamation marks, is a bit TRITE!!!